September 2013


Nomads were horse and camel men who represented speed and surprise at a time when everything moved slowly.

From, The Structure of Everyday Life

In the beginning there was tumult.
Someone called for silence,
for diligence
and then for love.

A man stood up and said:
“How can I ever make it clear that I really,
really . . . ”
“What?” the people around him cried.  “What?”
“ . . . do not despise you?”

and that man kissed children falling from the sky,
women flowing past in slow muddy streams,
mothers in their glistening cocoons,

and among the people loneliness erupted,
like thunder in summer.
O summer!

© 2001, Toon Tellegen
From: Gedichten 1977-1999
Publisher: Querido, Amsterdam, 2001
The philosophers ran into one another in the street.
It was a whim of fate –
not one of them was missing.

Fundamental questions were not answered that day,
such as: who is happier than who,
and what purpose does happiness serve and what purpose loneliness.

They stood there together for a long time.
They held parasols over one another’s heads
and decided not to flinch
and even more fervently and even more accurately to long for nothing.
They nodded.
Then they thought of someone – each of them thought of someone else –
and cast down their eyes.

They greeted one another and continued on their way.

© 2001, Toon Tellegen
From: Gedichten 1977-1999
Publisher: Querido, Amsterdam, 2001
© Translation: 2005, Judith Wilkinson